Queanbeyan Teenager to Jump at World Youth Athletics Championships
Queanbeyan teenager Andrea Thompson has leapt into the Australian Youth Athletics team that will attend the World Youth Athletics Championships in Colombia later this year.
16 year old Thompson will compete in the Under 18 Girls long jump, as Australia’s only representative in the girls’ discipline.
She’s also the only athlete selected in the squad via the ACT Athletics system.
It was however an anxious wait for Thompson to see if she’d been selected. Unusually, she hadn’t won the long jump event at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships two weeks ago.
“When I went not so great at nationals, Mel Breen was actually presenting medals and she came over and she was like ‘It’s ok. In track and field you have these days. Just get back on the horse,’” she said.
“12 months ago I wouldn’t have expected Mel to do that because I didn’t know her as well.”
Despite this, Thompson was picked at the discretion of the selectors after she had jumped the 6 metre qualifying distance at on two separate occasions at previous meets.
She did however clinch a commanding victory at the Athletics ACT Track and Field Championships in February with a winning jump of 6.07m.
Thompson is expecting to bounce back in Colombia, having been given a reprieve by the selectors.
“If I get a good lead in, hopefully I’ll do a PB, and if I do that it could put me in medals,” she said.
“It’s hard to say this far out. There’s still so much training to do.”
Training for a new level has brought new challenges with it, as well as a much more intense program.
“We’ve just amped it up a bit. So I’ll be doing two days of running stuff, like sprints, and then two days of jumps, two days in the gym and one day off,” she said.
“The old program was three days at the track and one or two days of gym.”
Thompson said that people often underestimate how technical long jump is, and explained why it’s so important to have such an established routine.
“I have about three focus points in the run up about what I have to do. It’s so technical trying to get on the board,” she said.
“The hardest part is when you’re at the start of your run up, and you’ve messed a step up, you have to try and go faster or make your strides bigger. People see it as ‘you run and you jump’ but actually it’s so technical. So much happens in that 10 seconds.”
But she mentioned how great the coaching assistance was for the national team, from Australian record holder Bronwyn Thompson and national champion Nicole Boegman-Stewart.
“I’ve been doing a lot with national coaches Nicole Boegman-Stewart and Bronwyn Thompson,” she said.
“To have them there during the lead-up is going to be really important.”
“They give me a lot of advice on how to deal with certain circumstances. They’ll give you scenarios of what’s happened to them and how they’ve dealt with it, so you can make better decisions rather than if you were just thrown into it.”
While should would like to continue her long jump career professionally, including Canberra’s Canberra Track Classic, Thompson was very realistic about long jump as a long term profession.
“I don’t want to be just an athlete. Even if I break the world record, as my coach says, you’re not going to be earning enough to pay bills. So it’s a bit unreasonable to want to be just a full time athlete, so getting a job is pretty high up there too. It’s always going to be a big juggling act between work and athletics, but that’s just how it is,” she said.
“I really want to be a firefighter.”
However, Thompson is showing no signs of slowing down her athletics career, with her lengthy list of goals motivating her to keep jumping for as long as possible.
“There’s World Juniors in Russia next year around the same time, so that’s on the radar if I don’t have any injuries or anything,” she said.
“I’ll start the Australian Athletics tour, that’s also a plan, and mainly just moving up and doing more of the open competitions.”
With the 2018 Commonwealth Games only three years away, Andrea intends to keep competing on the world stage as often as she can.
“Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast would be amazing. I’d be 19 for that – still fairly young. But yeah definitely Tokyo, Commonwealth Games after that, Olympics after that.”
But Thompson’s Olympic Dream doesn’t end there. She is also an avid horse rider, and competes in equestrian events across the state.
“I’m definitely still riding. We factor that into my training, because it’s good for your core which is part of my strength,” she said.
“I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics for that, so I’m thinking maybe I’ll be a dual Olympian.”
For time being however, athletics takes priority for Thompson.
The World Youth Championships take place in Cali, Colombia from the 15th to the 19th of July.